Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Celebrate 50 Years Of Mars Attacks!

It's been a whopping fifty hears since the mother of all trading cards attacked unsuspecting Camelot-era American youth!  To commemorate this historic occasional, Topps has re-issued the vintage Norman Saunders' jaw-dropping mini paintings carefully printed on superior card stock!  Collect 'em all!  There is also an array of ultra-cool merchandise and a book to pump up the festivities.  Each deck includes a new card by a contemporary artist that sadly don't hold a candle to the savage, lurid, vividness of the originals.  Don't even mention the Tim Burton movie!  What a disgrace!  A complete misunderstanding of the original intention and vibe (like his sloppy APES remake).  I just picked up a pack at my local Target.  I also have a re-issue deck from the 80's or 90's.  My original cards didn't survive my mom's spring cleaning.  Here are some links with more MARS cards information:


Peplums From the WB Archives!

Warner Bros. is excavating a slew of newly re-mastered peplum (aka Sword & Sandal) classics for DVD-R release in their original widescreen aspect ratios.  (NOTE: TMC has broadcast most of these but not always in their theatrical aspect ratios).  I'm mixed on the whole pricey DVD-R scam.  These should be available for download or in budget priced box sets.  At the very least, they should have been double-featured.  Or better yet, I wish WB would just sub-license these archival titles to a budget label like Mill Creek and let them unleash crazy-ass box sets and blu-rays at their usual ridiculously cheap prices!  Titles include THE TARTARS, THE SLAVE, SANDOKAN THE GREAT, DAMON & PYTHIAS, HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES and GOLD FOR THE CAESARS.  Check out the link to order:  http://www.wbshop.com/category/wbshop_brands/warner+archive/new+releases.do?sortby=dateCreatedDescend&ref=E120731WACNEW

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome Universal's New Wolfman on October 9th!

Good news!  Universal is releasing a direct to DVD/Blu Ray spin off to THE WOLFMAN (2010 ) called WEREWOLF: THE BEAST AMONG US (excuse the lame cover art).  Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIQLFnRXfdY

Based on the trailer, the production looks similar in design but lower in budget than its predecessor.  Director Louis Morneau and Producer Mike Elliot are both graduates of the Roger Corman school of fast and furious budget-conscious filmmaking with numerous schlocky credits in their bulging filmographies.

It's good to see Universal investing more in their classic monster legacy but why not call the thing, THE WOLFMAN: THE BEAST AMONG US or THE WOLFMAN WALKS AMONG US?  What's with the generic WEREWOLF title when they own THE WOLFMAN? Strange over-thinking.  I'm sure we can expect a faster than the speed of light CG lyncanthrope again (my only real major complaint about the previous film). A werewolf is big, strong with sharp claws and teeth and a super sense of smell.  Why is super sonic speed so important and scarier?  How about a new direct to disc Universal monster rally epic!  That would be fun!  Also, it couldn't hurt to exploit some of their classic copyrighted creature designs (NOTE: The Creature From The Black Lagoon does NOT need a re-design just in case some wise-ass genius thinks so!  It still stands as the greatest rubber suit monster design EVER!)  Anyway, it would be nice if Universal kept the classic monster genre alive and flowing with more competent, gothic horror!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

R.I.P. actor Simon Ward (1941-2012)

British actor Simon Ward has passed away at age 70.  He will be remembered most at VC for his excellent performance in one of the greatest of all Hammer horrors, Terence Fisher's FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED (1970) where he co-starred with Peter Cushing and Veronica Carlson.  Simon's other notable performances include Richard Lester's THE THREE & FOUR MUSKETEERS (1973/74) and Dan Curtis' DRACULA (1974).  He was somewhat absent from the big screen for the past few decades and concentrated mostly on television and theater.
For more of Mr. Ward's credits:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0911844/

Another fine thespian associated with Hammer also recently passed- ANGHARD REES of THE HANDS OF THE RIPPER (1971).

Her obituary can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/tv-radio-obituaries/9419043/Angharad-Rees.html
A complete filmography can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0715878/

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beware! Big Statue Stomps!

The fine folks at Mill Creek make buying blu-rays and DVDs so easy and cheap!  The classic DAIMAJIN 3-film series makes its way down the creek on September 18th.  This is one of the least known or less popular kaiju from Japan in the '60s.  The film's are beautifully produced and slow-moving in a good way.  The plots are usually concerned with mounting feudal oppression and slavery that reaches a tipping point, pissing off the mountain god enough to literally sit up, take notice and stomp justice into the land via old testament style wrath and fury!   I always found this series heavy, ultra-melodramatic and cinematically powerful with thundering Ifukube scores to perfectly match.  I'm pretty hardcore about DAIMAJIN so this  is a mandatory purchase for me.  I'll post some of my personal DAIMAJIN paraphernalia soon!  For BD specs, visit:  http://www.millcreekent.com/majin-triple-feature-collector-s-edition-blu-ray.html

Friday, July 13, 2012

Eyeball on Hammer's first FRANKENSTEIN!

Read about the premiere of the newly restored CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) that will include the long-lost eyeball scene!  The film will be projected in its original Academy aspect ratio (1.33:1) and the UK blu-ray will be announced at the event.  No whisper of a U.S. release yet.
Here's the eyeball clip on YouTube from a UK telecast:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The First Universal Horror to hit Blu-Ray on 9/4!

In ravenous anticipation of the box set, I forgot about this- the classic 1948 Abbott & Costello monster rally!  This will be the first official Universal Horror to hit the HD format on September 4th!  Be on the look out for limited theatrical screenings of  new Universal restorations at your local repertory cinema (if they still exist!).  New York City's Film Forum is presenting new 35mm restorations of FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (among other horror/non-horror restored/non-restored classics) this month to celebrate Universal's 100th anniversary!  http://www.filmforum.org/movies/more/universal_100

Weird, check out the Wolfman's face in the artwork.  He looks like a mutant cross between Lugosi's Ygor and Chaney's lycanthrope.  What the... ?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The HD Restoration of the Universal Horror Classics: Serious Business

Here's a fascinating glimpse into just some of the digital restoration work that went into Universal's DRACULA (1931) in preparation for the upcoming blu-ray release.  October can't come soon enough!